Whether you’ve just purchased a brand new home or have been living at the same address for several years, one thing is for sure: your home won’t survive without a durable, long-lasting roofing system. These days, you might see roofs made of:
- Asphalt shingles
- Ribbed metal panels
- Clay tiles
- Concrete tiles
- Wood shakes
- And more
Although items like asphalt shingles and metal roofs are plenty sturdy enough to keep your family safe all year, every roofing material comes with an expiration date. Thus, having your roof replaced at some point is pretty much inevitable.
So, how do you know when you’re ready for a roof replacement? If you aren’t the original person to install your roof, it can often be challenging to determine its exact age, but this is an essential piece of information to have on hand. While damage is easy to spot, discerning the age of your roof will prove more difficult. That leaves many homeowners asking, “how long does a roof last?“
The honest answer is that it depends. The lifespan of different roofing materials will vary based on multiple factors, but don’t worry; we’ll dive into all of that (and more) below.
How Long Do Different Roofing Materials Last? ⏰
If you also find yourself asking about the age of your existing roof or wondering, “how long does a roof last?” you’re not alone. Fortunately, we’ve done the hard work for you to find out just how long different roofing materials were made to last. Take a look:
- Asphalt Shingles – 15 to 25 Years
If you live in the United States, chances are your roof is made of asphalt shingles. Asphalt shingles top the list as being one of the most popular roofing materials among homeowners for a variety of reasons: they’re relatively inexpensive, easy to install or repair, and available in a broad range of colors.
Standard asphalt shingles are made of a fiberglass mat coated with asphalt and then covered in ceramic granules. Depending on how these materials are combined, you’ll see different types of asphalt shingles, such as:
- Strip shingles: Also known as “three-tab” shingles, strip shingles are the most basic and least expensive type of asphalt shingle available.
- Laminated shingles: Laminated shingles, also known as “dimensional,” “architectural,” or “premium” shingles, are thicker than strip shingles and offer greater durability. Thus, they’re typically expected to have a longer life expectancy than the typical asphalt roof.
On average, a roof made of standard asphalt shingles will last between 15 and 25 years, but this lifespan can be extended or shortened based on the materials used and how well the roof is installed, cared for, and maintained.
For instance, if your asphalt shingles are installed in an area with a lot of trees, you might find that they only last 15 to 20 years due to the increased amount of debris that can fall on and damage them during storms. On the other end of the spectrum, asphalt roofing can also become discolored in the sun, which lowers its lifespan significantly.
- Architectural Shingles – 30 to 50 Years
As mentioned above, architectural shingles are laminated asphalt shingles that allow for great longevity and durability. While standard asphalt roofing requires a replacement every couple of decades, durable architectural shingles can last anywhere from 30 to 50 years with the proper care and annual maintenance.
- Cedar Shakes – 30 to 50 Years
A roof made of wood shingles or shakes can last 30 to 50 years, making it one of the longest-lasting roofing materials available. But that’s only if you’re prepared to put in the work to maintain this beautiful roofing style.
So, what’s the difference between a wood shingle roof and cedar shakes? Wood shingles are cut from logs and installed on the roof, while wood shakes are hand-split before installation.
Wooden shingles and shakes are known to be durable and look great, but they’re definitely not considered low-maintenance. Aside from the extra care a wood roof requires, they’re also susceptible to fire, rot, and insect or pest infestations. In addition, wood shingles and shakes can be cracked or broken if hit hard enough, like other materials on this list. If you don’t want to deal with these kinds of issues, you can always look for more fire-resistant materials.
- Metal Roofing – 40 to 75 Years
Metal roofs are quickly growing in popularity due to how long they last. When properly installed and maintained, a metal roof is one of the longest-lasting types of roofs available, lasting 40 to 80 years. Metal roofs can have a standing seam look or be corrugated and are most commonly made of materials such as:
Each type of metal roofing material will have its own benefits and drawbacks that you’ll need to consider before making a decision.
For instance, steel roofs are known for being very durable and long-lasting, but they’re also susceptible to rust and corrosion. On the other hand, aluminum roofs don’t rust or corrode, but they’re not as strong as steel roofs and can be more susceptible to damage from hail or falling tree limbs.
Although metal roofs are known for being very durable and low-maintenance, they’re also quite expensive. In addition, metal roofs can be noisy during a rainstorm or when hail hits them too hard.
- Tile Roofs
If you’re looking for a roof replacement that will last a lifetime, a tile roof might be right for you. Although roofing tiles can come at a high price point, their life expectancy is worth the extra investment. The most popular tile roof styles (and their average lifespans) include:
- Clay roof tiles: A clay tile roof can last anywhere from 50 to 100 years, making it one of the longest-lasting roofing materials available. Clay tiles are made of natural clay that’s fired in a kiln, and they’re typically shaped into either interlocking or overlapping tiles. Clay tile roofs are very durable and resistant to fire, rot, and insects, but they can be cracked or broken if hit hard enough. A clay tile roof can also get quite heavy, so your roof framing may need to be reinforced before installation.
- Concrete tile roofs: A roof made of concrete tiles can also last close to 100 years. These tiles are made of a mix of Portland cement, sand, and water that’s formed into tiles and cured before being attached to your roof frame. Concrete is another heavy material, so make sure your home can handle concrete roofing tiles.
- Slate roof tiles: A slate roof can last 100 years or more, making it one of the longest-lasting roofing materials on the market from slate tile manufacturers. Slate is a natural stone cut into thin tiles and then installed on the roof. It’s a very durable and low-maintenance material but also quite expensive, and slate tiles can be cracked or broken if hit hard enough as well.
- Stone-coated steel tiles: Stone-coated steel tiles are another long-lasting tile roof style that can last up to 100 years. These tiles are made of steel coated with a layer of stone, giving them the appearance of clay or slate tiles without the same substantial price point (but they’re still costly).
- Solar Panels – 25 to 30 Years
Solar panels are exploding in popularity as more people prioritize sustainability in their lifestyles. But how long do solar panels actually last?
Solar panels are warrantied for 25 to 30 years, but they can often last much longer than that. In fact, it’s not uncommon for solar panels to continue working with at least 80% efficiency after 25 years.
Factors Affecting the Life Expectancy of Your Roof 👼🏻
While the life expectancy of each material listed above is a solid estimate, several factors can contribute to the early demise of your roofing system, no matter how durable it is. Examples of these factors include the following:
If your roof is installed incorrectly, you’ll likely start to experience problems within a few years. Always hire a qualified and experienced roofing contractor to avoid any issues.
Ventilation & Insulation
If your attic lacks adequate insulation or the vents on your roof fail, that can also lead to further damage. Insulation and ventilation help to regulate the temperature in your attic and prevent moisture build-up, both of which can damage your roof.
Local Climate & Weather Conditions
The climate conditions in your area can also affect how long your roof lasts. For instance, if you live in an area with severe weather conditions like hurricanes or tornadoes, your roof will likely not last as long as it would in a more mild climate.
Maintenance & Making Repairs
If you don’t regularly inspect and maintain your roof, any small problems that arise can quickly turn into bigger, more expensive problems. Ensure your roof is inspected at least once a year and repaired as needed to extend its lifespan.
The best way to ensure that your roof lasts as long as possible is to work with a qualified, experienced roofing contractor. They can help you choose the right roofing material for your home and climate and ensure that it’s installed properly. They can also provide regular maintenance and repair services to keep your roof in top condition.
Tips to Prolong Your Roof’s Lifespan 🛠
While all the different roofing materials possess unique life expectancies, there are still several ways to stay proactive over the years to protect your home’s roof from any unnecessary damage or an untimely demise. With that said, we recommend trying out any combination of these helpful tips to continue prolonging the lifespan of your roof:
- Clean your gutters regularly to maintain adequate drainage and water flow away from your house and roof.
- Perform an annual roof inspection as well as one any time there is severe weather to ensure no damage has occurred.
- Get your attic insulated correctly and with the proper vents to reduce any lingering heat or moisture in the area.
- Keep an eye on trees that are close to your home or have dead limbs, and remove any that may impact your roof during a heavy storm.
- Make repairs or replace missing shingles immediately to avoid further issues.
- Look for signs of leaks or water damage regularly.
- Inspect flashing around chimneys, vents, and skylights, and use roof caulk as a temporary fix until the proper repairs can be made.
- Don’t try DIY roof repairs unless you’re 100% confident in your abilities. Otherwise, call on professional roofing contractors in your area to get the job done right.
Here to Help Make Sure Your Roof Lasts 👷🏻
No two roofing materials are created equal, and many factors can contribute to the failure of a roofing system. So, that leaves many homeowners wondering, “how long does a roof last?” With the proper care and maintenance, plus support from professional roofing contractors, you can have a beautiful and durable roofing system that should last a lifetime (or at least as long as you own your home).
If you’re ready to replace your roof with new roofing material, make a call to Best Exteriors. Between the asphalt shingle roofs and other shingle roofing materials we offer, there’s something for everyone here at Best. Contact us today to discuss which roofing material is right for your home.